When Writing Doesn’t Go as Planned..

What is a new with me? Well, so much.

Firstly, I am very sad because I have not been able to complete NANOWRIMO. Unfortunately, last week I grabbed my laptop from the counter, while holding baby on the other arm, and it just slipped from my arms like silk and hit the floor.

Then there was the noise that made me cringe and I thought for sure, I broke it. It worked fine that evening, but the next day it would not turn on. I got this MacBook Air for Christmas last year, so it’s been less than a year. I’m hoping the next place I take it to will fix the problem (first place could not). Apple store wants to charge me pretty much what we paid for to fix it, so we are looking at alternatives.

Anyway, so when that happened I resorted to our home PC, whose screen also gave up on me. Perfect timing. So I had no computer. After days of not being able to write, I realized we had another laptop (a slow Lenovo laptop), it is what I am currently writing on and it hurts my fingers like no other.

So this is what has been going on with me. I have been focused on getting a lot of things done for work and home, as I begin a new journey this upcoming Monday. I will be going back to work full-time after forever, so I am quite nervous about it but am excited about the opportunity to write full-time for a great company.

I am also a bit sad about not being home with the kids anymore, worrying in the back of my mind about how they will cope with mommy being gone all day. I am at peace knowing that they will be home, in great hands, but still feel a bit sad. I will miss our walks and our adventures together. It is bittersweet, but I also know that working will make me a better mom. Pray for me!

This was an update on my “writing life”– although I have not been able to complete NANO, I’m shifting my attention on writing more non fiction and bringing awareness on Spiritual Abuse. I hope that one day, I will share my story in a published book, but for now I am focused on bringing awareness to this important matter.

Writing may not always go as planned, but don’t let it get you down or slow you down. Writing comes with obstacles and struggles, so keep typing.

Perhaps I was not meant to finish that story.

Anyway, I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving!

I am Writing An Entire Novel in One Month.

It has been a very long time since I got excited about writing fiction. For a while it became like such a chore and just the thought of it made me anxious. I have had no desire  to write for more than a year now.

Then I started playing with the idea of doing National Novel Writing Month.

Am I crazy?

I had not even written a single word in forever and now I’m signing up to write an entire novel in one month?

Yes, clearly I’m nuts. But I had this story tugging at my heart, my fingers were aching to type and tell the story. So I decided, why not? I have a peaceful corner in my house that I created, dedicated for writing and reading. Might as well put it to use.

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I have had this hate and love relationship with writing the past year. I have been doubting myself and my talent, thinking that maybe I’m just not cut out to be a real “writer.” Maybe people just don’t want to tell me the truth, you know? But every time I doubt myself, someone somehow ends up encouraging me or praising me for something I wrote that they recently read.

Okay. Maybe I’m not so bad after all. I decided to go for it.

Write, Deb. You were born to tell stories!

Now that it is November 4th, how am I really doing with #nanowrimo?  It started off a bit rocky. Matter of fact, I did not start writing until day three (yesterday). I finally sat down to WRITE, and boy, did I write. It was as if all I needed was to sit down and just write. Words, characters, and ideas just came flying out. I couldn’t stop. I was excited and thinking non stop about the book and the characters. I still am.

I am writing an entire novel in one month.

no more excuses.

but really, my excuse was that I’ve been too busy reading instead. And at first, I started with a story that just wasn’t it. It felt like I was forcing it. It wasn’t the story I should write.

my heart wanted to tell a different story.

so here I am, writing.

let’s hit those 3k words. Daily.

 

 

Do You Still Write?

There are moments that I cherish with all my heart. Nap time. Quiet time. Me time. Mommy time. However you choose to call it–it’s that moment I get to be myself to write and read. Yesterday, everyone was taking a nap and it was a beautiful moment of silence. Just me, typing on my keyboard after a long, stressful week.  I like to escape in different corners of the house, and yesterday’s choice was the dining room.

I have been job hunting (again) and it has been so draining and stressful. I applied to a minimum of fifty jobs  in my field and have been getting interviews, but so far I am still hoping and praying for a job offer. Long story short, I’m done being an adjunct. I will write another blog post detailing the struggles of #AdjunctLife next time.

Back to the subject at hand, I have not been living what I preach. You know? The whole write everyday thing that I preach to my creative writing students? Guilty.

Do You Still Write?

I get this question often. And the truth is, the past few weeks have been challenging, writing/career wise, but I’m taking it one day at a time. Trying to make time for the things you love can sometimes seem impossible but every time I sit down to write, I remember why I write.  No, I do not write fiction as much, but I do enjoy journaling a lot more. Moral of the story is:

You may fall out of love with a passion because you don’t do it enough, but once you reconnect, things will fall into place.

img_20181022_205012_3902143437309.jpgSo today it’s a late night writing. Matter of fact, I started with some fiction and here I am now writing a blog post after almost two months.  I  am preparing  for National Novel Writing Month. I haven’t done this challenge in seven years, so this shall be fun! I think. Writers, who else is doing #NaNoWriMo with me?

What are you writing this year?

How Do You Spend Your Time?

The quality of your life is determined by how effectively you use time.

-Michelle McClain-Walters

I am making the most of my time instead of complaining about the time I don’t have. If that means I get to journal for three minutes, then so be it because time is the measure of life.

How you spend your time defines you.

 

There are moments where I have an hour or two to myself when all the kiddos are asleep, and I usually spend that time watching TV when I could be using that time wisely by reading a book, for example (since I compain about not having enough time to read anymore).

So I’m making a pact with myself to be more mindful of how I spend my time in general. If there is one thing that we absolutely cannot take back in life, it’s time. Last night, I read for an hour before I practically passed out on the couch but it felt amazing to escape into a book again.

If you were to be defined by how you spend most of your free time, what would you be called?

 

A Writer’s Dream

How exciting and unreal is it to see my book on a bookshelf at a bookstore!?

I go from overly excited to overly scared– fearing the what ifs about my upcoming book signing this month. But, what if no one shows up except my hubby? What if no one likes my book? What if I’m not good enough? What if…what if…what if…

I am extremely gateful for my support system for reminding me that God gave me a gift, so I need to proceed until the end, no matter what.

What would be the point of life if we never took risks?

The entire process has been quite a ride, and I’m excited to be having a book signing.

So September 23rd at 7pm will be my book signing for Chasing Freedom at Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix, AZ. If you’re in the valley, I hope to see you there, so we can drink coffee and chat about this amazing novel of mine!

 

Tell Us How You Published Your Book? What Was the Journey Like?

The time has finally come!

Chasing Freedom, my novel, has finally been released. After a long journey,  it is finally out. What most people don’t know is that I have been working on this book for years.

You may purchase it here: http://bit.ly/2sWEI9D

Where did the storyline come from? The inspiration?

Well, the protagonist in the novel is a Congolese rape victim and refugee.  Given that I am Congolese (although I’ve never been),  I’ve been reading and hearing so many horrific stories and I felt like I had to write about this and be the voice of the women of Eastern Congo who are daily being abused.

And then in the diaspora, there are many refugees who still continue to struggle because, well, America isn’t always “golden“.

I wanted to show the journey of a young woman and refugee chasing after freedom, from Congo all the way to the U.S..

There are so many organizations who claim to help refugees when they truly have their own agendas. I will not say too much because I don’t want to give out any spoilers.  I interviewed people, read many books, and watched many YouTube videos to research as much as I could.

People who have recently started following my blog or recently became friends with me on my Facebook or Instagram, assume that I recently wrote this book. No, no–not with two kids!

So, when did you write the book?

Allow me to tell you the story- the shorter version.

I initially wrote this novel as my thesis in grad school in my creative writing program back in 2012. I worked with a mentor who is an author and professor who guided me through the process . I had about a year to finish the novel. Once it was done, I received critiques from my cohorts and other readers such as professors and a NYC agent .  At the time, it was nowhere near ready to be published. First drafts are usually crap!

Once I graduated from grad school in 2013, I started working on revisions after revisions.  Mid 2013, I queried several literary agents and landed myself one! Oh how exciting! It was a dream come true.

Unfortunately, the dream later became quite a bit of a nightmare. The agent was fairly new to the game and in my opinion, did not have enough close contacts in the publishing world. And I don’t  believe she really did a great job getting my manuscript “published ready” for editors.

Anyway,  so she pitched and pitched  by book to editors, but we only received rejections back. And when I looked at the list of editors she pitched,  most of them did not even seem right for my book.

After three years, I had enough.  I started asking around, “does it take this long when you already have an agent?”

Most of my “agented” writing buddies advised me to end the contract because it should not take this long to sell the book.  So, I did that. I ended the contract with her.

Then I decided that my book still needed work to be considered  “published ready” so I hired a professional fiction editor who has worked in traditional publishing for years. I interviewed a few editors before I made my final decision.

Because my novel is quite diverse, it was important to find someone who understood the main character and the vision of this novel. She was able to really help me with the tone, voice, and the overall pacing of the novel.

Many indie authors skip this step because it can be quite pricey.  That is a big mistake. Editing is the most important stage of the writing process!

Then I gave the novel a break for almost an entire year, I believe.

When I came back to it with fresh eyes, I was impressed. “Wow. I wrote this? This is a good novel.”

It was almost a complete different novel. The power of an editor.

Anyway,  I was still undecided about pursuing another agent or going indie. By indie, for those who are not familiar with the term, I’m referring to independent publishing, as an self-publishing. After a wonderful, eye-opening, and inspiring weekend in Dallas I wrote about here: https://chez-debz.com/takingmywritingcareerbackinto/, I decided to go indie. One of the main reasons I did so is because in the publishing industry, once an agent has already pitched your book to an editor at a publishing house, you can’t try to re-pitch it to the same publishing house, even to a different editor. So my options were limited here and I was so over the whole “gate keepers” of  publishing.  I did; however, pitched a few literary agents just to “see”  but my heart was already sold on going indie.

The publishing world has changed drastically in the last few years and I am very happy about my decision! I believe  more writers should go indie!

Not only is my book available on all online bookstores, but I am also doing a consignment  program  with a local bookstore to have my book on a shelf as well. 

I was able to control each stage of publishing; from the cover, to the publisher, and distribution.

So you may be wondering now…

How can I write and publish a book too??

Upcoming next week will be a blog post on “How Do I Write and Publish a Book”. I have since then received numerous emails and messages on how to self-publish a book, so I think a blog post with step by step instructions will be helpful to all aspiring authors. As always, thanks for reading and don’t forget to buy your copy of Chasing Freedom here: http://bit.ly/2sWEI9D

And for details on the book, visit my author website: DeborahKabwang.com

Am I Not Good Enough?

Like almost every writer’s dream, I  was signed by a literary agent two years ago for not only one book, but my writing career overall. Writing is a very competitive field. Finding a literary agent to manage your writing career, and one who actually believes in you is just as difficult as people say.

Here is the story of how I Found My Literary Agent here.

As some of you may know, I have been working on a particular novel for what seems like a lifetime now. So, at first, I was so thrilled. My dream had come true. My book would be published by a major publisher in no time! (Ha).

My agent and I went through rounds of editing to get the book ready. Once we felt it was in good shape, my agent  started pitching  several editors  and publishers .  Some requested the full copy but in the end, rejections kept  coming.  I started doubting myself and my novel . After she had pitched almost everyone on her list, my book had not been sold. No book deal.

I lost hope… I had given up on publishing  this novel and started writing  something entirely different, but my character’s voice kept calling out to me. Why was I giving up ? 

I considered  self- publishing . Clearly those publishers and editors didn’t want diversity. It  was their loss. But I  had self-published a different book  in the past because I was impatient and it did not work out so well.

I truly believe that this  book would be better off in a major publishing house rather than self-publishing because of its complex, intriguing subject  matter and  ability to reach a diverse audience.  I decided to talk with my agent about my  concerns.  (If you are not aware, my novel deals with a very dark theme about a raped Congolese victim from D.R Congo who finds herself in a religious cult in Texas.)

Am I not good enough?

Sometimes it helps  when people believe in you just as much as you believe in yourself.

I  decided that my novel needed more work  and hired a professional editor who has worked in the publishing  industry. She did a magnificent job  with the development and pace of the story. I was amazed. After  starting the revising process again,  I took another long break from the novel . I was burnt out. I hated it now and just the thought of reading  it again made me sick to my stomach.  I’m talking months here.
During that time, I gave birth to a second baby, moved to a new house, went back to work full-time  and started focusing  on writing articles instead. Writing fiction was the last thing on my mind, in fact, reading  other authors was mostly what I did.

I really needed that  break.

The great thing about being a writer is that you are always re-creating yourself.

-Martin Cruz Smith

There’s something about putting a manuscript away and coming back to it months later. When I picked up the manuscript again, I found myself at awe with my ability to create. Those words. I wrote that? And to think that I was ready to give up and toss this book forever.

I finished up revising and (update) have since then decided to break my contract with my agent and look for a different one  who will be a better fit for my book and writing career!

So now, we wait again.

Words have carried me through the happiest and saddest moments of my life– in times where all I could do was pick up a pen and paper to express myself in order to empty my mind, my heart, and my soul.

So, every time I think about giving up on this novel, I remember all the countless sleepless nights, the research, the interviews, the tears, and most of all, the voices inside my head. The cries of those women wanting to be heard–wanting their story told. I’m their voice. I may go through a dozen more rounds of revising, but I won’t give in and “settle”. Because this story deserves to be told right.

When Is Your  Book Coming Out?

So to answer this question, I don’t know when my book is coming out, but my prayer is that this novel will finally  find a (publishing) home soon.  In the meantime, you can keep reading my words  on my blog and pray I get a book deal soon!

Sincerely ,

An aspiring  novelist

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You Make Motherhood Look So Easy!

Is motherhood as scary as it sounds?

For the past couple of weeks, since giving birth to my second baby, I’ve gotten comments such as, “You Make Motherhood Look So Easy!”

My first thought was, “What the heck does that even mean?”

I received this comment from a mom and from a friend who doesn’t have children yet.

I was so confused, so I asked my husband if I should be offended or flattered.Then I decided to ask for clarification from one of the persons who told me this—the one without children yet.  She further explained that as someone without kids yet, I made motherhood look like it wasn’t so bad and as scary as it sounds. I made it look easy. Maybe she could do it too after all. You know? Be a young mom and have a life too.

Then it hit me. Many women simply do not have kids yet because they are afraid of:

1) losing their freedom. 2) losing themselves along the way. 3) not having a life.

Often times, without realizing it, moms do scare women who don’t have any kids yet. All they hear when we talk about our children is all the scary stories about breastfeeding and crying babies or how toddlers will make you want to pull your hair out.

It is true that motherhood is not easy, but at the same time, it is the most rewarding journey any women can experience.  You will cry, laugh, possibly get depressed, but most importantly, your heart will explode—with love you never knew you could feel.

Spaces (1)Do I make motherhood look easy? No. I simply share my daily life as a mother and a writer.

Why should I give up my dream and passion for writing because I’m a mother?

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The key is, don’t lose yourself because you had a baby. Instead, let motherhood bring out the best in you and bring out new interests you never even knew existed.

For example, before motherhood, I did write, but it was mostly fiction. But now that I am a mother, I have developed new interests and topics in writing, and more opportunities within the writing realm has presented itself that I didn’t have before I became a mother. I made the decision to not use my children or motherhood as an excuse for not following my dream. I want to be an example for my children so that when they grow up, they too will follow their dreams and live a life with passion. No matter what. Is it easy? Absolutely not!

Some days I don’t write. Actually, not some, but more like several days go by without me even typing a single word. And that’s life—that’s motherhood.

So whatever field you’re in, don’t let motherhood scare you from being successful. If it’s painting, paint on. If it’s music, sing on. If it’s writing, write on.

Continue to grow as an artist and let the journey of motherhood be your inspiration. Embrace motherhood and its challenges and allow them to strengthen you, mamas!

 

 

It’s Okay to Change Your Mind. Do What Makes You Happy!

I went through this a while ago, but I now found myself facing the same problem again. It is obviously a bigger deal than what I originally thought. As writers, it is so easy to fall in and out of love with writing. For me, it’s been a long time coming and I no longer enjoy writing fiction. I get excited about a new story-line, and start writing it with enthusiasm, but eventually the enthusiasm fades away, and then I no longer want to continue writing. This has been happening with the past four novels I have started writing. First, I thought that the story-line was not right, but I am now starting to realize that it’s not the story-line. I know the problem: ME.

I am the problem.

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This is my “I don’t want to write fiction anymore” face.

Writing fiction feels like something I have to do and not something I want to do. I’m happiest when I’m simply expressing myself through my thoughts on my blog and my journal.

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When I start writing fiction, I have to  plan, create, and plot. It feels like homework, so then I get easily frustrated.

It is not writer’s block. It is simply me falling out of love with something I always thought I loved.

Is it okay to say, “I don’t want to write fiction anymore?”

Is that giving up?

I personally do not see it as giving up. As we get older, our dreams change and our hobbies change as well. Fiction writing does not bring me joy like it once did. Instead, it makes me roll my eyes at the mere thought of creating new characters.

I went through this a few months ago, but then people started to encourage me to keep writing. But the more I kept writing the more miserable I became. The problem is that when people know you in a certain way or by a certain skill, it can be difficult to change and adapt to a new lifestyle. For a while now, people have known me as “the writer.” My book is yet to be published, but people know me as a fiction writer.

I don’t want to be known as “the fiction writer” anymore.wpid-img_20150102_235616.jpg

I’m here to tell you that it is completely okay to change your mind. Do what makes you happy. Life is too short to do what people want or expect you to be doing. You are building your future by the choices you are making today, so stop wasting your time doing what you could care less about.

Find that thing which you love and thrive at IT!

Some writers do not realize the importance of a writing space, but I am here to tell you that it is very important!

I’m finally spending more time in my “WRITING SPACE.”

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I remember when I was younger. All I wanted was a writing space/reading room/office/ writer’s space (however you want to call it). So when The Hubz and I bought our house, it was a must have on my list. People ask me where did I get ideas, as far as decorating and etc. I mostly got my ideas from Pinterest.  There is always room to get more creative, and I might change it around more in the future.wpid-2015-01-27-10.33.28-1.jpg.jpegI was having a hard time readjusting to writing, reading, and blogging after I had my baby. I love spending time in my office/writing space, and I missed it so much. I realized that the only way that I’ll use it again anytime soon when The Hubz comes home from work or if I just bring baby KLM with me.
So, I did. He seemed to enjoy his corner of the room.

Anyway, we’re spending lots of time in here now that I’m back at work, and am also working on my second novel.  I’m less on social media. I started writing a novel, but for some reason I keep getting stuck over and over again. There is a story pulling my leg, but I’ve been afraid to write about it. I dream about it almost everyday, and I know what my heart is telling me. I need to write about it.  On days where I get stuck, I read all the inspirational quotes that are on my wall, and it really does inspire me even more. I believe that having my own space contributes a lot to the success of my writing progress at times.
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Some writers do not realize the importance of a writing space, but I am here to tell you that it is very important! Yours does not have to be fancy or grand, it could be your bed. But find a place that you go to every single day, and write–even if just a word.

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Are you being abused spiritually?

I’m reading a book called Twisted Scriptures and I now have a better understanding of how easy it can be to become manipulated by a spiritual leader who is manipulative and controlling.

The easiest targets are those who are at a point in life where they are vulnerable and confused about their own beliefs.

Then, we have the Baby Christians. Baby Christians are those who have not yet matured in the things of God. Because they do not know the word of God, they are easily manipulated and controlled because they believe that their spiritual leader knows what’s best for them. They don’t communicate to God as much because they believe that their leader hears from God for them.

Easy targets are also those who know who they are in Christ, and daily strive to get closer to God. Because of it, they’ll try to get as close to their spiritual leader as they can, and will do anything he/she says, even if it has nothing to do with their spiritual life or Christian walk.

These three types of people will do everything that their leader says to do, if not, then they are rebuked in public and are labeled things such as not broken enough, rebellious, living in sin, prideful, not dead to self or flesh, etc…

Many people are scared to leave even if they feel that something in their church isn’t right. They are told that if they leave, God’s covering will leave them too and that their life will be cursed for leaving the man God placed in their life as their leader. Such myth stops people from leaving even if they want to—it’s absolutely a mind-control game. Those leaders expect you to tell them everything, even if it isn’t spiritual. They make all the decisions for you and make you believe that they know what God’s will is for you when really, they just want to control you. They tell you where to work, where to go to school and even who to marry. If you dare to object, you will be rebuked in front of the congregation.

There is a difference between telling someone what to do so that you can continue to control them, and advising someone what you think is best.

An advice can be turned down. But a demand usually means you MUST do it. Those kind of leaders usually say, “I don’t have peace about it.” or “It isn’t God’s will for your life!” Please, RUN!!! They will never have peace about anything they don’t want you to do! Even if it is God’s will. They will do whatever they can to keep you in their church, under their control. They want you to believe that God speaks to them more than He speaks to you about every area of your life. These leaders want you to feel like they know what’s best
for you and love you so much that they don’t want you to mess up, which is why they give you advice (more like a hidden agenda). They want you to depend on their advice (more like DEMANDS).

Unfortunately, many people do not leave. Many people do not think their leader is abusing them spiritually. They just think that he knows what’s best for them, as if God can only speaks to him!

As if God doesn’t speak to us personally!

Yes, I know, every now and then God will speak to a man of God about something in one’s life, but not for EVERY AREA OF ONE’S LIFE. Not on a daily basis. Not every second of the day! It comes to a point when it is just CONTROLLING.

Some of these leaders mean no harm and believe that their way is the right way, so…..pray for them. They don’t realize that their doctrine could be wrong.  Sad to say that many people live under their authority and don’t believe that anything is wrong.

All right, I’m stopping here for today! More to come…

Have you come across those spiritual abusive leaders?